I’m nearing the end of the semester and the end of my course. Only two or three weeks to go. And two assignments. I’m going to be glad when it’s done, but I’m also sorry to be ending the learning here. I’d like to do another degree. Or another research project or something where I get to do more learning and reading and writing. Oh well. Time to get onto the job applications. Which of course I’m dreading.
We’re just about to have our second Sydney exchange in six weeks in about a week or so (maybe two weeks?) and I’m too busy with uni to think about it properly. I’m doing some DJing so I should get it together. I’m also thinking about going in the solo charleston comp, but I don’t have the brain to get that together either. After that there’s about a week or so before MLX in Melbourne. Then it’s all over dance-wise til the next year. Phew.
I’m wondering how I’m going to keep up my exercise in the hot weather. I think I need a hot weather alternative.
Plans are afoot for a garden group in our apartment complex. I’m spearheading it, so it’ll be the slowest group ever. Which is kind of appropriate for a gardening group. Our balcony’s plants are doing well in the warmer weather with the longer days and lovely rain. So we finally have home grown herbs.
I’m doing quite a bit of sewing atm. Mostly because I’m a bit bored. Uni is fun but it doesn’t quite fill up my days. Probably because I don’t really push it hard enough. But I can get through the readings quickly enough and it’s not actually all that complicated. It can be tricky to learn the skills, but the thinking side is quite simple. Which is a bit frustrating, but it’s good to learn some new skills and learn how to learn in a new way.
I’m still trying to sort out this wordpress template, but it’s not going very well. I can’t really quite be bothered putting a lot of work into it.
I do have things to write here on this blog, but I’ve just not gotten it together.
Oh, I’d meant this post to be more interesting, but I feel a nap coming on…
I am, very slowly, making my way through the styles on this site, fixing things up. But it’s a bit annoying because Movable Type really does suck these days. I’m looking at moving over to something else (WordPress perhaps?) but I don’t really think that’s going to happen any time soon. There’s too much backing up and installing and so on involved. Plus I’d have to start again from scratch with the CSS. Argh.
So apologies for the obvious wonkiness and the continuing fiddling.
Finally, we have kitchen. Finished on about Monday the 9th November, we had a party on the Wednesday and cooked for 10 people. It was freeking horrible cooking in that tiny space. There is NO WORKSPACE. Click the pic to see all my notes.
I have big plans for this kitchen, but only a tiny budget, a budget which must first accommodate the scary bathroom with its 1970s approach to water proofing.
Yesterday we did the first coat of paint on the ceiling of the lounge room. We sucked. But we have had the floors done and they look GREAT. These dumplings are from New Shanghai Something or other, and they are great. I had red rice and chicken, though. And we both had choy. Click through to this pic to see more photos of our floor, and then to see the painting we did today.
We did the first coat on the walls in the lounge room today. It looks terrible; we will definitely need a second coat. But then we did the ceilings upstairs and did a MUCH better job. So we figure we’re on some sort of long, slow learning curve.
We are so tired.
On the ride home, we stopped in Summer Hill to get some food for dinner. A middle aged man with short cut hair (gauge 2 maybe), dark, fashionable glasses, some sort of red shirt, driving a small red convertible alpha romeo, rego starting with V nearly hit me. Because he was trying to do a u-turn down the main drag of Summer Hill at peak hour. When I stopped and pointed at my eyes (as in ‘look’), because his window was up, he opened his car door and yelled, “DON’T YOU LECTURE ME!” and then “GET OFF THE ROAD!” Ironically, I was just about to pull over and off the road. Then he did a really bad 3-point u-turn and drove off.
There were about a million people in the street and (once again) nobody said anything. He was clearly in the wrong and I was a bit shaken. He was the most dangerous of urban animals: a middle class, middle aged man in a car, embarrassed and then angry. They are the scariest creatures in the entire world. Also, they are fucking arseholes. But I was polite and just rode away. At first we thought he was trying to turn around to come after us. But he wasn’t. He was nuts.
Is it driving a car that makes people crazy? Or do they start that way? My feeling is that driving a car makes you crazy. Cyclists tend to be rocking their endorphines (unless they’re arseholes), but driving a car immediately makes you a) dumber, b) aggressive, c) angry. Motorists tend to think that they’re invulnerable when they’re in their car. That their car’s bubble makes them immune to everything.
When I’m on my bike, I’m intensely connected to and aware of what’s around me. So I’m very, very aware of cars and bikes and pedestrians. And I’m also a much safer driver since I started riding a bike.
If you drive a car, please, please PLEASE check your blind spot a million times before you open your door and before you pull out. And then check again. Because you could kill a person on a bike.
terracotta floor tiles
I am nuts for the idea of these tiles atm. They are made of terracotta and they’re hexagonal. Click the linky if you want to read more.
I have also started thinking about door handles.
I’ve never even considered these things before. And we have had to get some housey type things in a hurry. Choosing paint was rushed (but really, there’s no choice beyond ‘classic white’ for a small flat that has dark bits). I could perhaps have chosen a stain for the buttery yellow, knotty pine wood floors we’ve just had done in a clear satin water based finish.
I am still humming and hawing over painting the woodwork white. I’d like to get this shit done before we move in. But then, I should probably go slow on this stuff so I don’t screw things up.
We will also need to get a glazier in to fix a stupidly ‘mended’ window. And I need to get the dodgy painters in to do one room (the hall over the stairs – the ceiling is >5m and it’s over the _stairs_.)
After a while, we’ll redo the bathroom (which is really quite important) and then the kitchen (which is less important, but assumed greater importance when we discovered a leak this week).
And then I want to get the space under the stairs made into cupboards or large, pull out drawers. And I want to open out the ‘wall’ which edges the stair case into think palings or even just leaving it open (and dangerous!). And we will really need some built in bookshelves in the lounge room (we’ll cover an entire wall with them).
I like the thought of doing all this stuff. We are doing the painting ourselves, though we got a dood in to finish the floors (I’ll let you know what sort of job he did. He’s very nice, but you never can tell.) We’ll get a plumber to do the plumbing stuff, and a proper tiler to tile because those are jobs you don’t want to have to live with if you fuck up. But we’ve discovered we quite like doing this renovation stuff. The Squeeze is concerned he’ll like it too much and we’ll be renovating everything, forever.
So, in order of priority, I should be thinking about:
– the woodwork round the doors, etc
– getting all the locks changed, including the window locks. Years as a rental property mean that there are definitely dozens of copies of the keys floating about. So we need new ones.
– the bathroom. I have no idea on this one. We have a good iron bath and a decent toilet bowl, but we need to rip out the shitty shower unit ASAP and the vanity is screwed. It’s a tiny room, and very poorly laid out, so we’ll need to really think carefully about how we do it. I’d like to keep the bath as it’s in very good nick, and I had thought about putting the shower over the bath, but that’s not always a good idea, and not great for re-sale. We’ll need lots of new tiles and possibly need the ceiling sorted as it does open out into the attic space under the roof. Nice and bright but also DIRTY.
– the kitchen. It needs redoing entirely.
– the built in bookshelves and other assorted fitting and joining and random acts of carpentry. I need a good cabinet maker, I think.
Here are some pics from our new flat. I’ll try to write about this process properly. Probably won’t be any time soon, though.
The other day I was reminding myself that the Les Red Hot Reedwarmers are French – from France – when I suddenly realised:
Holy Shit! This band is FRENCH. So they’re not the The Les Red Hot Reedwarmers, a Jimmie Noone tribute band led by Les(lie) Red! They’re Les Red Hot Reedwarmers, as in The Red Hot Reedwarmers.
It was a freeking revelation. And yet… also a little disappointing.
Btw, if you don’t have this band’s albums and you like Jimmie Noone or early 30s NO-inspired Chicago action, then you’re ON CRACK. Their CDs are really, really good.
Since installing the new MT I’ve had some heinous comment problems. I’m investigating… well, I will investigate a spam solution. So bear with me if your comment doesn’t appear. I usually read them when they arrive in my email inbox, even if I fail to approve them.
Sorry. And thanks for commenting anyway. :D
…because I feel no shame, and publish every entry I begin. For which I apologise.
I was just thinking: why do I alway recognise an Ellington song? Is it the arrangements or the soloists? Ellington’s band carefully showcased each soloist with personally tailored and arranged solos/parts for specific people. So I guess it’s a combination: parts and whole.
Then I was thinking about my obsession with various jazz pianists. I thought I might do a post with little bios and pics of each one. Then I got distracted. But here are some I love:
Willie ‘the Lion’ Smith. Wasn’t a big band leader, but did a zillion songs with a zillion bands. One of my favourites is a song called ‘4,5, and 9’ with Leadbelly in 1946 from a CD my mum bought me at the Smithsonian in Washington. It’s (the song, not the Smithsonian) fairly sparse – piano, guitar, harmonica, male vocals. It has a rolling, rollicking rhythm that makes me want to roll and rolllick around the house. You can’t lindy hop to it. You can only roll or rollick.
Fats Waller Duh. Was a band leader. Died younger than we’d like, but not surprising considering his lifestyle. His band was famously loyal and stayed with him for a very long time. He began his career with bands like the McKinney Cotton Pickers in New York. I love his light, tinkly playing, his chunky left hand rhythms and his lovely lyrics. I love the combination of light-hearted humour and melancholy.
Mary Lou Williams You tend to find women in jazz bands at the piano or behind the microphone, mostly because they were considered ‘ladylike’ musical pursuits. No tubas here. Williams was in Andy Kirk’s band, and was important not only because she could play like a demon, but also because she was a badass arranger. She didn’t sing (that I know).
There are plenty more, but these are the ones I’m currently interested in.
I was going to write something else about something else, but I’ve forgotten what it was.
Oh, that’s right. I’ve been playing Flight Control on The Squeeze’s ipod touch. I’ve been getting quite high scores. I don’t like any of the other games. I don’t play computer games at all, usually.
I was hardcore into sourdough recently, but my interest has waned. I am now interested in … well, nothing much else, food-wise.
On other fronts, I’ve been doing an awful lot of reading about jazz, jazz history and jazz studies. Soon my brain will blow up. I think I’m procrastinating about another book I have to read and review for a journal. I’d better get onto that one quick-smart. But I just can’t be arsed – I know how it’ll end, it’s not hugely well written, and while the content is very interesting, I just can’t stick with it.
My foot has been much, much better. But yesterday and today it was a bit sore. Podiatrist in about a week for an update, and a verdict on whether or not there’ll be dancing again in my future, ever. Let’s cross our fingers, shall we?
There is a cafe on the main drag of Newtown called Funky which made me a freaking wonderful prawn raviolli the other night. It was home made pasta, in large sheets, folded around some perfectly prepared prawns, in a light, fresh tomato, tiny-bit-of-cream and smidge-of-butter sauce. It was simple and perfect. I was amazed. The manager is a lovey and always seats me carefully when I come in on my own every other Friday evening for a quick before-DJing dinner. It is a delight to eat there. Especially as the cafes on that strip can suck bums. But it’s really too nice to be called a cafe. And on the last few Fridays they’ve had a small, very excellent latin combo playing in their tiny restaurant. They had a double bass, guitar, bongos, vocals and … something else last Friday. They were so good I wished I could dance salsa. I didn’t even feel I needed to read my book, they were so nice to watch and listen to. And I do like a quiet sit-and-read on my own over a nice meal in a restaurant. I know it’s not cool, but it’s one of my greatest pleasures – eating alone in a restaurant.
That’s all I’ve got for now, I’m afraid.
I’m having problems with comments again. We are just about to start moving this site over to WordPress and away from MT, so that might fix these troubles.
Meanwhile, I’ll get the Support guy to check it out and see what I can do.
In the meantime, how’s about checking out the Yehoodi radio tribute to Frankie Manning – the very best swinging jazz.
You know I love you,
X O X O
EDIT: It’s fixed.